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Could flirtatious emails end your military career?

Not every military investigation begins with one’s commanding officer. In a recent example, a senior Air Force general’s disgraceful exit began with a complaint filed with the Air Force inspector general. 

The complaint alleged that the general had maintained an unprofessional relationship with a married, subordinate female officer. As in any case, evidence was required to substantiate the allegations. But in this instance, the evidence consisted merely of emails exchanged between the general, who is also married, and the female officer. What’s more, the emails had been the subject of a divorce between the female officer and her former husband. When questioned during the divorce, the female officer claimed that she had never cheated.

Nevertheless, the emails supported the ultimate decision to reprimand the general, and the inspector general characterized them as sexually suggestive. The letter of reprimand was for conduct unbecoming of an officer. Upon its receipt, the general relinquished his position. Yet the general’s retirement papers may now also be in jeopardy. The Air Force is currently conducting an officer grade determination process that will determine whether the general will be forced to retire at less than his three-star general rank.

A brush with an Office of the Inspector General is no light matter, regardless of the military branch. Our law firm has represented many military members who were the target of an IG investigation. After building up a strong service record, make sure that an inadequate defense to an IG claim doesn’t undermine your military career. Our law firm works to shield military members from the consequences of an aggressive IG investigation.

Source: Washington Post, “‘Sexually suggestive’ relationship ends career of Air Force general who ran air war,” Dan Lamothe, March 17, 2016

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